2017 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship awarded to Morna Young

Published: 30 Jan 2017

Shane Strachan (Creative Learning), Morna Young, Morag Joss, Kaite Welsh (Creative Scotland) and Kate Latham (Creative Learning); photograph taken by Nicola Whyte

Playwright, actress and musician Morna Young has been appointed to the 2017 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship, hosted by Creative Learning, Aberdeen City Council.

The Fellowship was inaugurated by Creative Scotland in 2013 and provides a writer with time and support to develop their work in partnership with a host organisation. It was established in memory of Dr Wallace who committed his entire professional life to helping writers and literature organisations in Scotland.

In response to this year’s theme, ‘The Folk, Language and Landscape of the Northeast’, Morna will produce a full-length play exploring under-represented female voices in the Northeast of Scotland by conducting grassroots interviews and research in the area. She also hopes to engage with Creative Learning’s wider work, including supporting emerging writers through their The Writers’ Room CPD programme and other engagement opportunities.

The Fellowship will mark the next step in Morna’s burgeoning career, following on from successful Scotland-wide tours of her plays Neverland and Netting, as well as many collaborative projects with other artists and organisations as a theatre maker and producer.

On receiving the Fellowship, Morna said: "I am truly delighted to have been appointed as the 2017 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow. It is a privilege and one that I still can’t quite believe. This Fellowship marks a new chapter for my writing and I am honoured to be working alongside Creative Learning: a vibrant team with shared interests and ambitions for the Northeast.

"The theme of ‘The Folk, Language and Landscape of the Northeast’ is ever present in my work and I will use this opportunity to examine the under-representation of female voices. I also look forward to engaging with the wider community to embrace peer learning and creative exchange. 

"Dr Gavin Wallace’s memory echoes throughout Scottish literature and his support of writers remains celebrated and vital. I am immensely grateful to the Creative Learning, Creative Scotland and to Gavin’s family for awarding me this invaluable opportunity."

Kate Latham, Artistic Pathways Manager at Creative Learning said: ‘While we had a lot of very strong candidates at the interview stage, Morna shone through as a writer who shares the values and aims we have at Creative Learning in terms of engaging with, and giving voice to, under-represented communities through creativity and culture. We’re very excited to work with Morna throughout 2017, and to support her to take her work to the next level through focused time on a full-length play project.  We are also delighted that Morna will launch her Fellowship by performing excerpts of her work at our Literary Salon at the Lemon Tree on Saturday 18 Feb as part of our Inspiration Point project.’

Kaite Welsh, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said:  “We’re delighted to appoint Morna Young as the 2017 Gavin Wallace Fellow – the way her writing is infused with the folk, language and landscape of the North East makes her a perfect choice to work with Aberdeen City Council’s Creative Learning team on what we’re sure will be an exciting, electric piece of writing.”

Notes to Editors

The Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship offers a writer the opportunity to spend dedicated time to develop their practice in partnership with a leading literary organisation. The selected Fellow will receive a stipend of £20,000 and Creative Learning will receive £5,000 to enable the hosting of the Fellowship.

The Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship was launched in 2013. The first host organisation selected was the Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) at the University of Glasgow. Following an open call for applications to become the inaugural fellow, they appointed Kirsty Logan.  In 2014, Moniack Mhor was selected as host for the fellowship, and they subsequently appointed Jen Hadfield as their writing fellow. The most recent host in 2015/16 was the National Library of Scotland who appointed Angus Peter Campbell.

Dr. Gavin Wallace was a central figure in Scotland's literature world for many years. Gavin joined the Scottish Arts Council in August 1997 as Literature Officer and later moved on to become the Head of Literature, a position he held for eight years before being appointed as Portfolio Manager for Literature, Publishing and Language at Creative Scotland in June 2010. Gavin previously worked as a teacher, lecturer, critic, journalist, editor and broadcaster, and was an Associate Lecturer in Literature and the Humanities at the Open University in Scotland from 1991-2001. He carried out graduate and postgraduate study, in English and Scottish Literature, at the University of Edinburgh. For more information about Dr. Gavin Wallace, please visit: www.creativescotland.com/funding/funding-programmes/targeted-funding/gavinwallacefellowship

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visitwww.creativescotland.com .  Follow us @creativescots andwww.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

Inspiration Point is an interactive arts project inspiring the people of the North-East. Celebrating the range of creative activities in Aberdeen and creating opportunities for local artists. For more information about Inspiration Point, visit Creative Learning’s Facebook page or search Inspiration Point on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, which all have the handle @InspirationABDN Free tickets for the Inspiration Point Literary Salon, featuring Morna Young, can be booked via the following Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inspiration-point-literary-salon-tickets-31443925628?aff=eac2